Sep 19, 2010

Fine feathered friends

Although France is famous for glorious Paris, most of the country is rural with a large proportion of the people engaged in agriculture and agriculture-related activities. The French are very much in tune with the weather and the rhythm of the seasons and take great joy from the flowers, birds and other creatures.

The18th and 19th century French textile designs reflected this love of nature in its many aspects. One favorite theme was songbirds or other small birds that might be found in the garden or in nearby trees.
The first two fabrics shown below are unusual in that they depict hummingbirds hovering between the flowers. This hummingbird is extinct in Europe and has been for centuries. This tiny bird is now only found in the Americas. In 2007, a 30,000 year-old fossil of a hummingbird was discovered in France.

The next group are all 19th century fabrics in an array of styles and colors. This group includes a monochromatic toile as well as a two-color toile plus a black background piece and a piece with a neutral beige background. The beige background creates a canvas for a colorful foreground motif of spring flowers and cheerful songbirds.

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